WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) — expected incoming chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs — released the following statement after President-Elect Joe Biden announced his COVID-19 economic rescue package. The proposal includes several key priorities for which Brown has long fought:
“President-elect Biden’s bold plan would deliver the results Americans voted for by increasing stimulus checks to $2,000, dramatically expanding the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, helping families stay in their homes, helping keep our public transportation systems open, getting support to Ohio communities to prevent layoffs, and providing critical funding for the massive vaccine distribution effort we need to overcome this pandemic,” said Brown. “Congress needs to get to work on this plan quickly to deliver results for the people we serve.”
The proposal includes:
· $35 billion for rental and utility assistance to help keep people in their homes and assistance to help secure safe housing for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The proposal calls for extensions of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until Sept. 30, 2021.
· Another round of direct payments for people struggling as a result of this pandemic. The proposal would provide a $1,400 per-person check to help pay their bills, bringing their total relief payment from this and the December down payment from Congress to $2,000.
· $350 billion in state and local funding to help states and municipalities across Ohio with revenue loss due to this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
· Additional weeks of unemployment benefits, through September 2021, including for self-employed and independent contractors. It would include an additional $400 per-week unemployment benefit.
· An expansion to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).
· A provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Senator Brown has long fought to raise the minimum wage to $15.
· $170 billion to help schools reopen safely.
· $15 billion in grants to help small businesses get back on their feet.
In addition to this $15 billion, the proposal calls for a $35 billion investment in successful state, local, and non-profit small business financing programs.
· $20 billion for a national vaccination program, in partnership with states and localities.
· $50 billion for a massive expansion of testing.
· $30 billion investment in the Disaster Relief Fund, to ensure sufficient supplies and protective gear, and to provide 100-percent federal reimbursement for critical emergency response resources to states and local governments, including deployment of the National Guard.
The proposal also calls for an additional $10 billion investment in expanding domestic manufacturing for pandemic supplies to fully utilize the Defense Production Act and safeguard the country by producing more pandemic supplies in the United States.
· Emergency paid leave for 106 million more Americans.
· An increase in tax credits to help cover the cost of child care, to help millions of families and help parents return to work.
· $20 billion of further assistance for public transportation relief to prevent layoffs of transit workers and prevent cuts to transit services.
· An extension of the 15 percent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit increase.
This would also include $3 billion to help women, infants and children get the food through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).